CINCINNATI — With his company facing $2.78 million in penalties stemming from an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation, Cintas CEO Scott Farmer is defending his company’s workplace safety and says it will contest the agency’s findings.
Eleazar Torres-Gomez, 46, was killed March 6 when he fell into an operating industrial dryer while clearing wet laundry jammed on a conveyor at Cintas’ Tulsa, Okla., plant. Last Thursday, OSHA announced findings alleging 46 violations of safety standards in the plant.
“Any accident is one too many at Cintas, and we remain heartbroken over the loss of our friend and partner,” Farmer says in a statement posted on Cintas’ website. “Since these events, we’ve been cooperating with OSHA as its inspectors reviewed these incidents – working with inspectors as they studied the washroom equipment, interviewed employees, examined each person’s actions, and reviewed our policies and training records. It’s important to note that much of what the inspectors found was in compliance, reflecting our long-standing commitments to workplace safety.
“However, we just received the inspectors’ reports in which they propose certain citations and fines. While we respectfully disagree with the inspectors’ opinions, we look forward to our chance over the next several weeks to present our insight and evidence to the agency as we work toward a resolution. In the meantime, we will continue to improve and refine our safety procedures, as we always have.
“We have purposefully created strong policies and procedures, demonstrated by a safety record that is 20-30% better than comparably-sized laundry facilities. We have created an executive safety advisory council, which is getting input from national safety experts – including a former head of OSHA – to help identify additional areas of continual improvement. As I’ve noted many times before, there is nothing more important than our employees’ safety.”